Americans’ concern over environmental issues such as water and air pollution and extinction of species is down from last year, and the data show that of all green issues, Americans worry the least about global warming (or climate change), according to Gallup.
As part of its annual Environmental survey, which Gallup has done for more than two decades, the surveyors on March 5-8 asked, “I’m going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all.”
The results showed that when it came to “pollution of drinking water,” 60% worried about it a “great deal” in 2014 but only 55% worried about it a “great deal” in 2015.
For “global warming or climate change,” some 34% worried about it a “great deal” in 2014 but that went down to 32% in 2015.
The full results from Gallup are presented in the screenshot below:
Commenting on the results, Gallup said, “Americans’ concern about several major environmental threats has eased after increasing last year. As in the past, Americans express the greatest worry about pollution of drinking water, and the least about global warming or climate change.”
“[T]he nature of the environmental agenda may indirectly be influencing Americans’ concern,” said Gallup. “The primary focus of the environmental movement has shifted toward long-term threats like global warming — issues about which Americans tend to worry less than about more immediate threats like pollution.”
“Importantly,” said the surveyors, “even as global warming has received greater attention as an environmental problem from politicians and the media in recent years, Americans’ worry about it is no higher now than when Gallup first asked about it in 1989.”
When Gallup broke the data down by political party, Republican versus Democrat, it found that only 13% of Republicans worry a “great deal” about global warming in 2015 while 52% of Democrats worry a “great deal” about the issue.
“Democrats worry more than Republicans about all of the issues,” said Gallup. “Notably, Democrats are more worried about global warming now than they were in 2000, perhaps reflecting the shift in the focus of the environmental agenda toward this issue.”
In its survey, Gallup interviewed by telephone a random sample of 1,025 adults, aged 18 and older, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.